Unique Sounds of Hillsong United’s New Album EMPIRES
About Hillsong United:
Hillsong UNITED is committed to writing songs that speak truth, create a unique sound, connect with churches, individuals and ultimately connect people everywhere with God. UNITED serves in church as a part of the wider Hillsong Worship and Creative team when they are home. When on tour, they are accompanied by the whole Hillsong team’s support and prayers that their ministry would arrest hearts and point people to Jesus, impacting individuals, local youth groups and local churches.They have brought us songs like: Oceans, Mighty to Save, The Stand, Hosanna, Lead Me to The Cross, From the Inside Out and so many more.
Here’s a video of Hilsong United’s performance on the TODAY show last month:
Us Flyby Bloggers got a chance to have a conference call with Taya Smith. Taya is a key leader in the Hillsong United’s creative team and is a passionate worship leader. This was such a great experience for me. I did not know too much about her before this interview. I am so happy that I got a chance to be a part of this. Taya was so genuine, honest and sweet when we were talking to her. I am going to tell you that I was so pleasantly surprised to hear some of her answers to our questions(not to mention her amazing accent). I don’t say this often and it really isn’t my place to say because I am not the judge but I could just feel that she was letting God lead her life by the way she presented herself and by the answers she gave.
Our Flyby Teleconference With Taya Smith:
(This is not the whole interview) Question #1: What was your inspiration for this album? She said it started from the “B” Attitudes(Beatitudes). She said that in a sense there are two empires. We have been born in this world but we are also spirits and are also a part of the kingdom of heaven. There are two empires. Like in their song “Touch The Sky” when it says I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground(opposite to the way the world works). Everyone seems focused on building an empire(you have got to do more to get more, we need to be at the top, we need to be famous and we need to get more Instagram followers. To be honest we only truly find ourselves, our purpose and true joy when we are not focusing on ourselves and we are looking at Jesus. I feel like Joel Houston and Matt Crocker have gone to a whole other level with the writing of this album. She feels like it is their most honest, real album yet.
Question #2: How do you prepare yourself for worship? Sometimes I just say Ok Jesus this is all you because I need you. I feel a littl bit of desperation in a good way. I think Devotional time with God is important. Without that time I feel like i am not always very nice. I need Jesus. I think the more time you spend with him the more you realize you need him. Taya asked the blogger if she was a stay-at-home mom(she was). Then Taya said not to ever underestimate what she does. She said it is one of the biggest responsibilities. You are shaping someone’s life. She said she was very thankful that her mom was a stay-at-home mom. She said that she instilled so much into her. Whenever she was sick her mom was home taking care of her. She said because of her mom she has a weird crazy legit trust in Jesus. She could lose her job, her house could collapse and everything could go wrong but everything would be okay because I have this crazy trust in Jesus because it is something her mom has instilled in her from a young age. She said thank you and please don’t disregard what you are doing you are shaping lives. Your children may not realize it yet until they are out of the home(I realize it now Laugh,Laugh). I am so thankful for it. I 100% mean it. For the dads too. If you are a stay-at-home dad you are a legend.
Question #3: When did you realize you had a calling for music? I loved singing when I was young. I was shown how to live a good christian life. I love singing about Jesus. He just captured my heart from a young age. God does more when you are there to bless other people. About 6 months before anything happened with United I was working in my 8th year in retail. I moved to do, to be honest, secular singing. Someone challenged me to not put God in a box. They asked me if I have ever thought about ministry? I really hadn’t. It was like a slap in the face. I feel like God had already taken me on this journey, the seeds were already planted, I was grounded with church and a revelation of serving. She said it could only be God so I am totally going to run with it. I apologize if that didn’t answer your question(how sweet is that).
Question #4: What do you do when you feel like you are burnt out?
I don’t feel like I have been completely burnt out. I have definitely felt the stress. I know when I have taken back the burden and I am just holding on to it all. I have a moment when I feel like I am the most under qualified person. I feel like what am I doing here? I have these freak out moments when I am tired. I am so thankful for the holy spirit because I realize I am trying to do this on my own. I feel like God is telling me that His grace is sufficient for me, It is because of me and it is going to be you and me that you are going to be able to do this. As a human sometimes I take back the burden. Then I remember God called me to do this and he graced me for it and it is not all in my own strength. Unfortunately I feel like I learn this in new ways all of the time(laugh,laugh). I know when I am not spending enough time with Jesus. I feel stressed out. It is like I am running on empty. I keep pouring out but I am not being filled. Another thing is I think you need to have good people around you to help you be accountable, ike someone who is a little further along in the journey(maybe a little older). You allow them to pull you up when you are a little tired. I am just being honest when I am tired I would say stuff that I probably would not say and my friends will put me in check(They also have the holy spirit giving them advice so that is the best). We are not meant to do life alone.
Question #5: Who are your musical influences?
I apologize because it is going to be the most annoying answer. I don’t have the classic story of who influenced me growing up. I just loved all different kinds of music. I just love good singers. I am not going to lie. I actually really love Beyonce’s voice. I think she is a crazy vocalist. Let’s be real she is insane. I don’t agree necessarily with the lyrics. I actually can’t comment because I don’t know her personally and I can’t ever comment on someone else’s relationship with God because I don’t want to be judged and that is not for me to comment on because that is between her and God. I can appreciate and gain inspiration and be influence by her quality and sound. She inspires me to get lessons. I actually heard the group Paramore in concert and I thought as soon as I get out of here I am getting a lesson. I want to be the best singer that God has called me to be. I want to be able to lead people in the best possible way.
Question #6: Out of all of Hilsong’s songs which song is your favorite?
One thing I really love about our church is that we make sure that our lyrics are theoretically correct and biblical. Pastor Robert and Amanda Ferguson oversee all of the lyrics. If something is not biblical it will not actually get through. They will send it back writing to us that this actually is incorrect and you need to write this again. I am all about lyrics. I have so many favorite songs but I do have one of them that I actually love every night when we get to play it. I feel like sometimes when I am caught up in monotony of worshiping night after night. Sometimes(not always)about 2 songs in I just go, oh my gosh we are worshiping the king of kings right now and I get to lead people, this is crazy!! When I listen to some of the lyrics(because they are biblical) it brings me right back. It reminds me that this is who Jesus is and He’s too good. I think “King Of Heaven” is beautiful but I actually love “Aftermath”. No matter what you have been through God can make something so beautiful. He can pull you out from that you know and I know Jesus is with us. It makes me emotional every time I think about it. Oh my gosh Jesus is just so good to us! It is just so beautiful the story of us being rescued.
What did I tell you? Taya Smith is such a genuinely nice person and very talented. I will be listening and supporting her music for sure. I loved this album and I hope you get a chance to listen to all of the songs on it. My favorite song is “Touch The Sky” but I think all of the songs have really great lyrics with amazing vocals!
The Hillsong United’s Album “Empires” was released May 26th!!
You can buy “Empires” on iTunes HERE
Follow Hillsong United on their Website & Social Media:
Check them out on tour this summer: http://outcrytour.com/
Win a CD copy of Hillsong United’s new album Empires:
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”